Krispy Kreme is providing a sweet incentive to encourage more people to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine: Free doughnuts through the end of 2021.
Starting Monday, consumers who show a valid COVID-19 vaccination card at locations nationwide will get a free Original Glazed doughnut, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based chain announced.
The freebie is valid at all 369 Krispy Kreme shops located in 41 states and available “anytime, any day, every day for the rest of the year,” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer, told USA TODAY. No purchase is necessary.
Krispy Kreme is also offering up to four hours of paid time off for each COVID-19 vaccination for its employees. And it isn't alone. Businesses including retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Trader Joe's, have been providing paid time off to employees who get the vaccine.
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While many companies are giving employees motivation, Krispy Kreme appears to be the first national chain to provide consumers with a treat. It has also given out free doughnuts on special occasions like Halloween for wearing a costume, Election Day and recently on St. Patrick's Day for consumers who wore green.
The promotion is long term for a reason, Skena said. Krispy Kreme wants people to have a chance to take advantage of it – after all, not everyone is eligible for a vaccine yet.
President Joe Biden has directed states to make all American adults eligible to receive vaccines no later than May 1.
"We wanted it to be big enough to sort of catch people's attention and spread awareness," Skena said. "I think anything anyone can do to help show support for those getting the vaccine is a good thing right now and so we're just trying to do what little we can."
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Skena said he hopes other companies will add vaccine-related promotions. He has heard of a few smaller businesses giving offers with proof of vaccination but nothing national.
"We may be the first, but I really hope we aren't the last," Skena said. "We should all do what we can to support folks getting this country past COVID."
Additionally, Krispy Kreme will deliver free doughnuts to select vaccination centers throughout the country in the coming weeks to support health care workers and volunteers helping to administer vaccines, Skena said.
According to USA TODAY's vaccine tracker, which is frequently updated, as of March 20, about 23.9% of people in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot and about 13% of people are fully vaccinated. About 22.5% of the shots distributed haven't been used yet.
Free coffee and doughnut deals
Krispy Kreme also has two other promotions open to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.
Be Sweet Weekends: Buy any dozen doughnuts and get a "Be Sweet Dozen" for $1 that includes 11 Original Glazed doughnuts and a special smiley-face doughnut. The promotion will be available for nine consecutive weekends, both Saturdays and Sundays, March 27 through May 23.
Motivation Mondays: Get a free medium coffee and a free Original Glazed doughnut, every Monday from March 29 through May 24. No purchase is necessary.
Learn more about the promotions at www.krispykreme.com/promos/sweetsupport.
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Contributing: Janie Haseman, USA TODAY
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Krispy Kreme free donut: Show COVID vaccination card to get freebie